Supporting the notion that crime should be tackled in a holistic manner, Minister for Economic Development, Guy Joseph, has said that dealing with small infractions of the law at a time can bring about some much needed change with regard to crime.
One such infraction, according to him, is child support laws. The minister believes that incarcerating a father who is unable to pay court-ordered child support due to unemployment, is more costly than a father finding a job and paying child support fees from salary deductions.
“Now, there are men who are delinquent in their responsibilities. And in the process, if they’re working and they don’t want to feed their child there must be consequences. But at the same time, wouldn’t it be more productive for us as a society, to find a job and deduct the money, and see that the child is fed than to populate Bordelais where it is costing more to keep him than it is costing to feed the child?” he asked.
Joseph was addressing a one-day crime symposium last week in which private and public sector stakeholders came together to deliberate on ways to deal with rising crime in Saint Lucia.
The economic development minister did not give an indication as to whether a change in these laws would be on the cards soon.
Moreover, Joseph called for more creative ways to dealing with crime in St. Lucia.
“We are all responsible,” he said while complimenting Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre, who first proposed the symposium, for attending and accepting that “crime is not a political issue”.